As we get older, things that were once simple and safe now become a little more dangerous. We don’t have the balance, reflexes, or sight that we once did. Because of this, we need to take extra precautions. Once such place that we really need to be careful is driving a car.
Driving a car at any age comes with its own level of danger, but it becomes more dangerous as you grow older. If you want to keep yourself safe, and live for a long time, there are a few things you can do to make car accidents a little less likely.
Make Sure You’re Able to Drive
First and foremost, you need to make sure you are actually able to drive. It’s an unfortunate part of life, but as we age, our bodies become less able to handle the demands of driving. Many of us are unwilling to admit it, and we put ourselves and everyone else on the road in danger when we do so.
So, the first thing you should do is see a doctor. Have them test your reflexes, your eye sight, and your ability to stay focused. Your doctors are the ones who will best be able to determine if you are still capable of driving. It’s a scary thought, thinking that you may not be able to get yourself around as easily as you once did, but if it means the safety of yourself and others, you need to find out for sure.
If the doctor gives you the all clear, that doesn’t mean you should go back to driving like you’re 25 again. You’re still older, and you should drive with a little more caution as a result. This means slowing down, especially when you’re on the highway. There may have been a time when you could comfortably cruise over the speed limit, but you should probably put those days behind you. Stick to the speed limit now that you’re older. It might take you a little longer to get places, but at least you’ll get there safely.
Remove Distractions While You Drive
One thing that everyone should do, but especially people who are older, is remove distractions. There are a lot of things that can distract us when we drive – radio stations, kids in the back, our cell phones – and we need to remember to eliminate these distractions as best we can.
Put your phone on car-mode when you get in, or set it in a place where you won’t be tempted to check it. Keep the music at a reasonable volume, and try to keep it on one station as much as possible. Driving takes a lot of concentration, and it’s especially important for people who are older – since their reflexes are a little slower – that you keep your focus on the road.
Check Your Car
Another problem that older people tend to have is there is more going on in their lives. You have a lot of things to think about and a lot of responsibilities to take care of. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for you to forget about basic car maintenance. However, if you don’t take care of your car properly, it is more likely to break down while you’re driving.
To fix this, set a reminder to regularly check your car. Make sure the tires have tread on them, that all of the fluid levels are correct, that there aren’t any funny smells coming from the car, that your windshield wipers work, and that your brakes are functioning correctly. Checking all of these things will only take a few minutes, but can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.
Let Someone Else Drive
Finally, when all is said and done, sometimes the best option is simply to let someone else drive. Maybe you’ve had a long day, so you let your spouse drive. Or maybe you can’t find your glasses, so you call for a ride instead. There are plenty of ways to get around, and sometimes they are the better option.
Of course, this won’t guarantee that you don’t get into an accident. Maybe your spouse is not better suited to drive than you, or your rideshare driver gets into an accident, and before you know it you’re calling an Uber accident lawyer. You can’t prevent every accident, or control everyone else on the road, but you can at least control your own actions.
So take some time to assess your own driving abilities. If you find that you are unable to get around safely, it’s time that you find other alternatives. And even if you can drive, there are still some changes you should make to ensure you and everyone around you remains as safe as possible.